Category Archives: Photographs

Late summer bliss

August is winding down, people are talking back to school, stores are selling Halloween candy and pumpkin spiced nonsense… and I’m here, pretending to be immune to it all, soaking up some late summer bliss.  

late summer bliss balloon

This has been a summer to remember.  

Fortunately I have an Instagram feed and recently acquired old school journal to help with that remembering… (most days I forget where 90% of the things we need are… and then there was that one time Grace announced, “Mom, one of your children is missing!”… it was Nicky.  And he was in the driveway.  And yes, I was sure to write that down because it seemed both hilarious and intensely terrifying.).  

late summer bliss

The kids and I have spent nearly every day of the last 2 1/2 months down the Cape, free from the rush and routine of our city lives, which has been both exhilarating and disorienting.  We’ve missed Nick terribly while he’s been at work during the week, and packed as much adventure into our weekends with him as possible.  

late summer bliss tomatoes

late summer bliss 1

We put quite a dent in the summer bucket list we made as a family back in June (which I wrote on the first page of the aforementioned journal… I am basically a middle schooler trying to have the best summer ever).

FAMILY SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2017

  • Take an airplane ride (Grace) — LOL. NO.
  • Cape Cod Museum of Art (Elizabeth)
  • Feed the ducks at the lake (Nick)
  • Go on adventures (Grace) — I’m going to make an executive decision and call this done
  • Go to Provincetown (Elizabeth) — We took an impromptu drive up last weekend, but I sort of want to go back again immediately, if not sooner.
  • Farm visits (Elizabeth) — We’ve been to the Taylor-Bray Farm a few times this summer
  • Get a library card (Grace) — One of my favorite days!  We’ve made good use of that card.
  • Drive a race car (Grace)… this hasn’t happened yet, but we are taking her to the go-carts next week, so… that must count?
  • Plant a garden (Elizabeth) — Nick upped the ante (and kept things alive) by adding a drip irrigation system 
  • Play in the sprinkler (Grace)
  • Pirate museum (Nick) — We went to the Wydah Pirate Museum in July to see treasure from the Wydah, a pirate ship that wrecked of the coast of Marconi Beach in 1717 (the dive site is still active)
  • Berry picking (Elizabeth) — Blueberries!
  • Mini golf (Elizabeth) — I think we accomplished 3 holes before Nicky tried to go swimming in the decorative water feature thing
  • Bowling (Nick)
  • Eat at Hangar B (Elizabeth)
  • Band concert (Elizabeth) — we made it to 3 of Harwichport’s Music in the Port nights
  • Play in the pool (Grace) — No pools, but lots of “underwater diving” in Nantucket Sound
  • Make a safety plan (Grace)… can you tell she’s my daughter? Safety first, fun second.  Also, a safety plan would have really helped on a day like this one… so maybe I should get on this.
  • Go to the playground (Grace) — and not just any playground, legit the best playground
  • Fireworks (Grace) — Maybe this weekend in West Dennis?
  • Make tie dye shirts (Grace) — She made one for herself, Nicky and all of the cousins
  • Go to a “baseball concert” (Grace)… I think she meant a game… and I totally blew it (the Cape League season ended two weeks ago)
  • Bubbles (Nicky)… a solid contribution to the list
  • Drive in movies (Nick)

There’s still time, people.  THERE IS STILL TIME.

late summer bliss days cottages truro

I knew this would be a fun summer, but I hadn’t anticipated that it would be more significant than that.  My time alone with Grace and Nicky truly has been something special.  Something to cherish.  Something to reflect on. Something to miss when they’re older and can drive themselves to get ice cream.  Something to learn and grow from as a mother (and, like, a regular person). 

Late summer is perfect for this sort of thing (learning, growing, reflecting).  

late summer bliss lifeguard stand

late summer bliss 2

As the season begins to shift, we inevitably do too.  

Soon we will fall back into our routines.  We’ll spend more time actually doing things, and less time counting boats and birds.  We’ll have more structure to our days, and less sand in our shoes.  We’ll have a little time apart (likely important for the sanity of everyone involved) while the kids are in school.  And we’ll eat less ice cream (again… important).

late summer bliss days cottages

But for now, for these last few weeks, we’re going to live in our late summer bliss.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you living your best late summer life?

To just be happy.

“I go to the ocean to calm down, to reconnect with the creator, to just be happy.”

–Nnedi Okorafor

In a world such as this, it’s so easy to worry, to fear, to fret.  To slip into a funk and hide there (and if there are good snacks, maybe stay there for a day or two).  So when we have a chance (no matter how fleeting) to just be happy, I believe it’s imperative to take it.  

Bring a friend (and sunscreen) with you. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Pretending I am a Polar Seltzer limited edition expert (mostly I just drink a lot of seltzer and imagine I know about flavoring)
  • Can I kick my iPhone addiction? Great article on creativity and boredom from qz.com
  • Attempting to convince Nicky that his name is not, in fact, Grace

Where do you go to just be happy?

Winter on Cape Cod

When we closed on our beach house last fall, I was longing for summer.  I looked forward to long days at the beach, warm evenings on the deck, and starry nights with our family.  While I know this coming summer will be wonderful, I can’t tell you how much joy and peace winter on Cape Cod has brought us.  It has been the best surprise.

We’ve spent nearly every weekend down the Cape since October, escaping the busy-ness of our (equally wonderful, albeit noisier) lives in the city.  There is something so calm and lovely about the off season.

WINTER ON CAPE COD

winter on cape cod 1

winter on cape cod 2

cape cod 3

winter on cape cod 4

cape cod winter 5

cape cod 6

cape cod 7

Calm and lovely, indeed.

…And there’s plenty of beach parking.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite local escape?

Oh buoy.

Oh buoy.

oh buoy

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

These beauties are on the side of Capt. Cass Seafood, at Rock Harbor in Orleans.  I think this would be a fun scene to paint… one of these days.  In the meantime, I’ve cracked open a new sketchbook + some gouache and painted a wonky purple chair.  It’s the first time I’ve painted something start to finish in ages.  But both babes were asleep and our condo was mostly under control and I’m sure there were 40 other things I should have been doing, but I chose to paint instead.

Because when creative inspiration strikes, it’s best to *seas* the moment… get it?  Seas…. buoys… Lord, help me.  

I spent 10 or so minutes earlier this week brainstorming things I wanted to paint, write about, cook, read, watch, learn more about, listen to and create.  I’m hoping that list will help ward off my next creative low tide (there I go again).  

Perhaps you’ll think about making a similar list?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s inspiring you today?

 

The week according to Instagram

It’s been a while since I shared an Instagram-ish update, mostly because that used to be a weekend thing… and there’s not much difference now between my weekdays and weekends.

2 Exceptions:

  1. The number of adults present (a.k.a. persons capable of rational thought + behavior, most of the time) in the home during the day — There are twice as many of these on the weekends.
  2. The number of leotards worn to gymnastics class– That number is 1 during the week.  And 0 on the weekends. (… please note that I did not simply say the number of leotards worn).

week according to instagram

I love a good ill-informed, politically charged Facebook post from a middle school friend happy life update from an old pal as much as the next person.  And as you’ll see from my Twitter “likes,” I can’t get enough tweets about the Pope.  Or preserving tomatoes.  Or Jeopardy! contestants’ opinions of Alex Trebec.  And don’t get me started on Pinterest.  It’s the best way to waste time, while pretending that it’s going to help you me more productive in the future.  If only I’d remember I pinned that workout for slim and trim hips.  Or a month’s worth of dinners in 2 hours flat!  

But Instagram is my favorite.  While I aim to keep things light-ish and bright-ish, these are still very real moments.  Ones that I want to share, but mostly ones I want to remember.  Here’s a bit of a scoop on the last week’s posts.

THE WEEK ACCORDING TO INSTAGRAM | @ELIZABETHEV

It’s rare for Nick to fall asleep in my arms any more, but he seems to get extra cozy in his new ring sling.  We upgraded from the linen sling to silk, which feels much more snug for my toddler-sized infant.  I took this selfie (us-ie?) after we finished watering my parents’ plants when then you were away.  Pretend gardening is tiring work apparently.

Quinoa and pesto had been a late summer standby.  And you already know how I feel about heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella.  The spicy micro greens are from Whole Foods and make a nice addition to this warm salad.  (You could eat it cold, obviously… but that would require patience.  And they were sold out of that.)

These are my new shoes.  The ones my husband bought for himself, and then I copied him and ordered a pair.  So, that’s special.  I’ve mentioned the On Being podcast before, but I sort of feel like I’m going to keep talking about it until everyone is listening.  What do shoes have to do with a podcast?  A recent episode that aired during the Olympics featured a group of runners sharing how running is a spiritual practice for them.  I was listening in the car on the way to Mama Beasts and, as soon as I grabbed a parking spot, grabbed my phone to jot some quick notes from the episode.  

“The blessing is outside your comfort zone” is something someone said to Ashley Hicks, co-founder of Black Girls Run, as she was prepping for the Chicago Marathon.  I thought that was pretty powerful.

I also found myself wanting to learn anything and everything about Billy Mills, the first (and only, so far) American to win Olympic gold in the 10,000 meter race.  His interview was really compelling, too.

Such a good episode.

These two are the cutest.  I love how gentle and playful Clark is with both kids.  The old guy has seen better days, health-wise, so I’m feeling extra mushy about him lately.  We are so lucky to have him at our sides.

Goodbye, weekdays. Hello, weekend. ✌🏻️ What's on tap for your weekend? #southie #castleisland #weekendviews

A post shared by Elizabeth | On Tap for Today (@elizabethev) on

We’ve been spending a lot of time out at the island lately– running, walking, counting boats, learning about fishing (Grace has taken a particular interest, which grosses me out, but hey), playing on the “big kid” swings, and looking for seagulls.  Oh and marveling that people are still playing Pokemon Go.  Apparently Castle Island is a hot bed of pokemon activity (I don’t really know what that means, but I heard it somewhere… so it must be true).

But seriously. I would eat snacks for every meal.

I love everything about seeded eucalyptus — the color, the varied textures, the incredible fragrance.  I always pick up a bunch when it’s in stores.  Same goes for new issues of domino.

No Lifeguard on Duty (#storyofmylife) 🏊🏻 Are you a risk taker or a play-it-safer? #instacapecod #wickedcapecod #itsstillsummer

A post shared by Elizabeth | On Tap for Today (@elizabethev) on

…and the full view of the tiny Instax shot included in the photo above.  Nick and I were down the Cape for a quick half-day trip (we’ve got something really fun in the works) and I couldn’t resist a quick stop at the beach.  It was quiet, overcast and a bit chilly– perfect off-season weather. 

And last, but not least, confetti from the best date night ever with Nick, seeing Adele live at the Garden (I forget what the real/new/current name of that place is).  The show was incredible, and I couldn’t help but grab a few pieces of confetti (each piece had a lyric or note in her handwriting… but despite what people were claiming, I don’t think she hand wrote all 9 million pieces… or whatever).

She performed for just over 2 hours, I think, with no breaks and no opening act.  I loved the format– especially the short acoustic set in the middle.  I have been listening to “Don’t You Remember” and “When We Were Young” and “Hometown Glory” on repeat.

Semi related: Lemon water with a bit of honey is great for your throat… you know, if you’ve been walking around your condo pretending you can sing and sort of lost your voice.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite social media platform?  If you could be any diva (current or past) who would you be?

Happy long weekend.

A long weekend is the best kind of weekend.  Saturdays feel like Fridays, Sundays feel like Saturdays, and Mondays feel like… well, Sundays.  That extra day is such a gift.  

happy long weekend

I’m going to spend as much time as possible watching the waves (one of the many advantages to living in Southie, across the street from the ocean).  And I’m going to drink cuvée from a can.  And I’m going to trick Nick into doing a partner workout with me while wearing our matching shoes (yep, like a total creep, I copied him and ordered the same pair of Nikes).

And maybe I’ll do some laundry.

I hope you have a lovely long weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your long weekend?

20 Hours in Portland, Maine

What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland?  Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine.  We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.  

I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.

20 hours in portland maine

20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE

Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront

After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront.  My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.

We were really happy with the Hilton.  So, um… thanks, Google.  The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required).  I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.  

We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.

20 hours in portland maine

Even the drain markers are cute.  Or whatever.

1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets

casco bay ferry maine

Super easy.  Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11.  They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did.  (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online.  And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)

1:35 PM: Quick lunch at the Dry Dock

20 hours in portland maine

And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar.  That’s how I wile out on vacation.  Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half.  It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay.  I think that’s where everyone else was.  Eating onion rings.  Or maybe an entire meal of food.  

2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island

There’s a Long Island in Maine.  And that’s where we went.  I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary.  We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.

long island maine

8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland

long island maine sunset

The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier.  Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.  

Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company

standard baking company portland maine

The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company.  I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze.  And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer.  In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.

20 hours in portland maine

We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.

It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area.  I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where’s your favorite Long Island quick getaway destination?

 

 

Cape Cod Lavender Farm | an afternoon visit

When we were kids, our parents would take us on “Mystery Rides” on summer evenings spent on the Cape.  I think we usually ended up at Sundae School or Chatham Light.  Or maybe one of the bayside beaches.  

I still love a good mystery ride.

cape cod lavender farm
The rain let up yesterday afternoon just in time for a late afternoon Mystery Ride with our own babes.  We were at the lighthouse on Sunday and it was too early for sundaes (actually… it’s never too early), but I had the perfect (sort of mysterious) place in mind.

cape cod lavender farm
I’ve wanted to visit the Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich for ages.  It’s hidden among conservation land, at the end of a long, unpaved path.  Just when I thought we were lost, I started to smell the lavender.  Just heavenly.

cape cod lavender farm
We arrived just before the little shop closed, picking up a bunch of lavender that had been harvested the day before.  The gentleman there encouraged us to walk around, pointing us in the direction of a castle and some fairy doors.

cape cod lavender farm
I don’t know who loved this little set-up more, me or Grace.  It was enchanting– the whole farm was, really.  We stumbled upon a bunch of kindness rocks and fairy houses, all the while being lulled by the calming lavender fields around us.  I bet I could take a legit nap there.  Or at the very least, chill out for 20 entire minutes.

CAPE COD LAVENDER FARM

cape cod lavender farm

cape cod lavender farm

cape cod lavender farm

cape cod lavender farm

cape cod lavender farm

I have a feeling we’ll be back to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm for a plant or two before the summer’s over.  It has definitely earned a spot on our Mystery Ride destination list.

The details:  The Cape Cod Lavender Farm is located at 41 Weston Woods Road in Harwich.  It is open 10 AM – 4 PM and 12 – 4 PM on Sundays.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your Mystery Ride list?

Today: 2016 Boston Flower and Garden Show.

I look forward to the Boston Flower and Garden Show every year.  It means spring is just around the corner, and I get a chance to see how the other half (the half that can keep flowers and plants alive) lives.  Plus, flowers are fun to draw and paint, so it’s the perfect place to get a bit of inspiration.

This year I brought baby Nick with me to enjoy the roses, daffodils, pansies and pitcher plants… but he snoozed through most of it while I snapped away with my trusty sidekick iPhone.  

The 2016 Boston Flower and Garden Show

A few of my favorites photos from the show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

boston flower and garden show

The colorful beehive is my favorite.  Do you think I could keep, like, tee shirts in there?  Instead of bees?

Also On Tap for Today:

Today: Happy weekend.

This isn’t smell-o-vision (and yes, apparently that was a real thing), so you’ll have to take my word for it.  These hyacinths smell incredible.  There may be a dusting of snow on my car this morning, but there are near-70 degree days in the forecast.

happy weekend hyacinths

We’re almost there, people.

Happy weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your weekend?